Retired Imagineer Joe Rohde Chimes in on Face Mask Mandates

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Joe Rohde Pandora

Credit: D23

As the COVID-19 spread continues, many companies and places like the Walt Disney World Resort have reverted their mask policies to require them to be worn indoors unless actively eating or drinking. 

father and daughter wearing masks in front of cinderella castle at disney world
Credit: Disney

Related: Mask Requirements on Disney Transportation to Last Into 2022

The mask mandate at Disney World is not one that every Guest agrees with, but as Disney World is on private property, Disney is allowed to implement their own health and safety policies. The decision to reinstate their mask policy to require face masks in all indoor locations at Disney World — regardless of a person’s vaccination status — came alongside the recommendation from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and updated guidance from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

magic kingdom halloween face masks
Credit: Disney

Just as Disney is private property, other storefronts and locations can make their own rules and can decide to require masks, even if the state in which those businesses are located does not have a statewide mask mandate. Now, retired Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who is one of the Imagineers responsible for creating Disney’s Animal Kingdom, among many other Disney projects, has recently spoken up regarding his stance on mask mandates.

Joe Rohde explorer outfit
Credit: D23

Related: Fans React to Disney’s Face Mask Policy Change

Twitter user Billy Corben shared a video of a person in Florida who entered what looks to be an Apple store without a mask. In the video, we can see that the customer is not someone who believes in wearing or requiring face masks. Still, as security is speaking with him, it is likely that, just like Walt Disney World, the store mandates masks to be worn inside.

Joe Rohde in DAK
Credit: D23

Rohde (@Joe_Rohde) responded to the video, Tweeting:

The worst part is that the anti-masker is actually talking…which is one is the best ways to spread germs…sort of like projectile vomiting your opinion. And it’s just as bad if you wear a mask but pull it down to talk… So don’t do that either. A public service announcement.

Rohde clearly believes in wearing face masks as a way to limit the spread of germs. And it seems that, though he is no longer working for Disney, his views on face masks seem to align with the rules that Disney Parks and Resorts have in place. Of course, the video pictured above is not taking place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and instead was taken at a store in Miami Beach, Florida. Still, if a Guest went to visit the theme parks and attempted to enter any indoor location, mode of transportation, or indoor attraction without a mask, they would be asked to either put one on or would have to leave the Park for not complying with the rules.

Proper face coverings at Walt Disney World, according to the official website, are defined as the following:

All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) should:

  • Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
  • Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free

At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin, triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.

Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.

Face coverings may have an integrated transparent plastic panel to aid in viewing the wearer’s mouth. These face coverings should:

  • Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching
  • Meet all face covering requirements listed above

For the most up-to-date safety protocols at Disney World, visit the official website here.

What do you think of Walt Disney World Resort’s current mask mandates or retired Imagineer Joe Rohde’s comments on this situation? Let us know in the comments below.

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